Gov. Rick Snyder challenges agriculture community to think big at Ag Expo

posted on July 18, 2012 11:17am

Contact: Sean Corp
517-432-1555, ext. 221

EAST LANSING, Mich.—As many of Michigan’s key agricultural producers, family farmers and industry executives sat down for a Michigan-made breakfast, Gov. Rick Snyder challenged the crowd at Ag Expo to think big. He suggested they work to double Michigan exports, support innovation, attract a high-tech work force and embrace a new attitude.

And everyone has a role to play, Snyder said. Michigan State University, home of Ag Expo, would play a key role in research and development and technological innovation; government must serve as a coordination center to bring that research, producers and industry partners together.

“We must make sure we have the best and most talented people go into agriculture,” Snyder said. “Agriculture is just about as high-tech a field as you can think of. Let’s recruit talent into agriculture by focusing on those ideas.”

With that high-tech work force Michigan will be able to improve its value-added processing, which, in turn, would help to increase exports.

“If we don’t double our exports, we’re not doing our job,” Snyder said.

Snyder also used the breakfast as an opportunity to announce the kickoff of the Pure Michigan Farmer campaign, which follows the June launch of Pure Michigan Agriculture.

“It’s a way to spread the message to other Michiganders about the importance of agriculture and farming. We need some attitude. Agriculture in Michigan is critical, and with agriculture and other top industries, Michigan will be the comeback state in the United States.”

MSU Extension is playing a key role in educating the public about the importance of agriculture, said Extension director Tom Coon.

“Through programs such as Breakfast on the Farm and Michigan Fresh, Extension is connecting the public and agricultural producers in all new ways,” Coon said.

Breakfast on the Farm allows families and interested individuals to enjoy breakfast and also learn what it means to operate a farm in the 21st century.

“They are learning where the milk they are drinking comes from and seeing what a Pure Michigan farmer actually does,” Coon said.

And the program has been a success, with the most recent event drawing more than 2,600 people to Choates Belly Acres in Jackson County. More than 25,000 have visited farms since the program’s launch.

Michigan Fresh brings information on growing and cooking vegetables and plants to farmers’ markets throughout Michigan. All Michigan Fresh educational materials are also available for free online.

“Farmers’ markets are always growing in popularity,” Coon said. “And it is our job in Extension to go where the people are and always find new ways to connect the public to the expertise within Extension, both in person and online.”

Ag Expo, now in its 33rd year on the MSU campus, runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday. The site is located at the corner of Mount Hope Road and Farm Lane. Admission to Ag Expo and parking are free.

For more information about Ag Expo, call 800-366-7055, or visit

Ag Expo is hosted annually by the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, Michigan State University Extension and AgBioResearch.

View News Archive